March 17, 2022
“A woman of Samaria came to draw water. ‘Give Me a drink,’ Jesus asked her, for His disciples had gone into town to buy food.”
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“A woman of Samaria came to draw water. ‘Give Me a drink,’ Jesus asked her, for His disciples had gone into town to buy food. ‘How is it that you, a Jew, ask for a drink from me, a Samaritan woman?’ she asked Him. For Jews don’t associate with Samaritans. Jesus answered, ‘If you knew the gift of God and who is saying to you, ‘Give Me a drink,’ you would ask Him and He would give you living water.’” John 4:7-10
One does not have to wade very deep in Scripture to understand that Jews and Samaritans did not like each other. For one thing, Samaritans were half-breeds. That is, they were part Jewish and part Gentile.
Historically, the Kingdom of Israel had been split after the death of King Solomon. As a result of the tragic apostasy of Solomon’s leadership in the latter years of his rule, God removed the national unity from the tribes of Israel. Judah and Benjamin (aka Judah) called Jerusalem their capital, and the remaining ten tribes (aka Israel) considered Samaria to be their capital.
The men of “Israel” in Samaria not only took foreign wives, but their wives also enticed them to worship pagan gods. The prophet Jeremiah wrote about it.
“Has a nation ever exchanged its gods? (but they were not gods!) Yet My people have exchanged their glory for useless idols. Be horrified at this, heavens; be shocked and utterly appalled. This is the Lord’s declaration.” Jeremiah 2:11-12
“For My people have committed a double evil: They have abandoned Me, the fountain of living water, and dug cisterns for themselves, cracked cisterns that cannot hold water.” Jeremiah 2:13
Jesus’ use of Jeremiah’s prophetic “living water/broken cistern” imagery was intended to remind the woman of Samaria’s past sin, which caused the division of national Israel and the Northern Kingdom’s separation from God. The woman’s sexual sin past was also symbolic of Israel’s (the Northern Kingdom) nationwide spiritual adultery.
By asking the woman for water, Jesus shows His willingness to forgive both spiritual and sexual adultery (commandments 3 and 7) on the basis of faith. His offer of grace and mercy brings to recollection a proverb:
“A generous person will be enriched, and the one who gives a drink of water will receive water.” Proverbs 11:25